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STUDY: Injuries, Minority Status Linked to Low Home Care Job Satisfaction

May 19, 2015

On-the-job injuries and racial/ethnic minority status are both significant predictors of low job satisfaction and high turnover intent among home care workers, a study shows.

The study, published on the website of the Journal of Applied Gerontology on May 8, uses data from the National Home Health Aide Survey (NHHAS) to address the “urgent need for recruitment and retention of home health workers” by examining the factors that cause them to leave their jobs.

The authors looked at how the demands of home care — both physical and emotional — influence whether home care workers found their jobs to be fulfilling. They found that 16.6 percent of workers surveyed had suffered an on-the-job injury, such as a back injury or a strained or pulled muscle. Additionally, 10.8 percent said they had experienced discrimination on the job as a result of their race or ethnic background, whether by a supervisor, a consumer, or a consumer’s relative or friend. (Approximately one-third of the 3,354 workers surveyed in the NHHAS identified as a racial or ethnic minority.)

On-the-job injuries and discrimination were both found to have “significantly reduced” job satisfaction and raised turnover intent among the workers.

Additional factors that predicted lower satisfaction and higher intent to quit include:

  • Younger age,
  • Higher education level,
  • Fewer hours worked per week, and
  • Employment at a for-profit and/or chain home care agency.

Conversely, workers who were confident that they performed their jobs well and workers whose supervisors and/or organizations acknowledged their efforts with positive feedback were more likely to be satisfied and less likely to want to quit, the study showed.

“Home health workers seem to be intrinsically rewarded by supervisory and organizational relationships that are supportive and appreciative,” the study’s authors wrote.

— by Matthew Ozga

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